A wealth of pop culture statuary and green chile dishes give this roadside restaurant clout.
Hatch, New Mexico—the self-proclaimed “Chile Capital of the World“—is a town off Highway 25, between Albuquerque and Las Cruces, New Mexico. Here, the Nunn family operates Sparky’s, a restaurant surrounded by their collection of retro roadside statuary.
A robot alien, Sparky’s namesake mascot, welcomes customers from a lineup of noteworthy characters. A 30-foot-tall Uncle Sam heralds hungry road trippers from afar. The A&W burger family occupies rooftop real estate, and Colonel Sanders, Ronald McDonald, Yogi Bear, and Robin Hood all stand across the street. The inside is no different. Sparky’s is practically bursting with Americana, from signage to collectibles.
Proprietors Teako and Josie Nunn opened up shop in 2008. They specialize in “Burgers, Barbecue, & Espresso,” but most people line up for their award-winning green chile cheeseburger, which is often touted as one of the best renditions in the state. Teako oversees the meat department, while Josie handles the restaurant design and barista service (using local coffee roasted in the nearby city of Las Cruces). Hatch’s namesake crop, the Hatch chile, appears on burgers, in burritos, and piled up at the condiment bar, but it also graces Sparky’s dessert and drink menus. Spice fanatics love the kick it adds to thick milkshakes and tangy, iced lemonades.
The Nunn’s started their acquisition of gargantuan pop culture figures from bygone decades in 2006. Teako purchased a Muffler Man bought to draw attention to their RV dealership. When the family opened Sparky’s two years later, the property became a museum for their historic stockpile.
Know Before You Go
Sparky's is just off of Highway 25, en route to Las Cruces. You really can't miss it. It's only open Thursday through Sunday.
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